News Column

Ecolab Reports Solid Quarter

Feb 26, 2013

Mike Hughlett

Ecolab's quarterly net income rose significantly and met Wall Street's expectations, while the St. Paul-based company also said Tuesday it believes it's close to resolving antitrust issues over its buyout of Champion Technologies.

Ecolab, a maker of sanitizing chemicals, water filtration and oil processing products, reported fourth quarter net earnings of $231.4 million or 77 cents per share, up from $88.7 million or 34 cents per share a year ago.

With one-time gains and charges stripped out, Ecolab earned $265.9 million or 89 cents per share, up 63 percent over $163.4 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting 89 cents per share on average.

Ecolab's fourth quarter net sales were $3.04 billion, up from $1.85 billion a year ago, reflecting the company's acquisition of Nalco. Sales matched forecasts from stock analysts.

"Fourth quarter results were strong as our team performed very well in 2012's challenging environment, driving strong sales growth in otherwise mixed markets and economies," Douglas Baker, Ecolab's CEO, said in a press statement. Baker said he believes 2013 "will deliver another year of double-digit adjusted earnings growth."

The company said it continues to expect its 2013 earnings per share to be in the range of $3.38 to $3.48 per share.

Ecolab is aiming to buy Texas oil additives maker Champion Technologies for $2.2 billion. Ecolab has been working to resolve antitrust issues surrounding the deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, a process that it had hoped to conclude by the end of 2012.

In a news release Tuesday, Ecolab said that while it appears "we are close to resolving the Department of Justice's remaining issues, it remains possible that the Champion acquisition will not be completed in the targeted time frame, or at all."


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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